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Mining Mafia Tries to run Over Whistleblower in Himachal's Rakkar

Local residents quickly shifted Suryabanshi to the Civil Hospital, Rakkar, where he was given medical aid.
Mining Mafia Tries to run Over Whistleblower in Himachal's Rakkar

Representational Image. Image Courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons

Delhi: Suryabanshi Thakur, a whistleblower who has been fighting the mining mafia for the past 14 years, was injured by goons trying to run him over with a car in the Rakkar market on Monday, The Tribune reported.

Suryabanshi, who hails from Rakkar near Dehra Gopipur, took shelter in a shop to escape from the goons, but they followed and attacked him with lathis and rods, the report said.

Local residents quickly shifted Suryabanshi to the Civil Hospital, Rakkar, where he was given medical aid. He was injured on his face, eye and head, but was out of danger, according to the doctor who spoke to The Tribune.

After the incident, Rakkar police registered an FIR against the accused. SP, Kangra Khushal Sharma, told The Tribune that he has directed the SHO, Rakkar, to investigate the matter and arrest the accused as soon as possible.

The Station House Officer (SHO) said the accused have been identified as Virender Thakur, who is the Up-Pradhan (deputy village head) of Chamukha panchayat. Thakur was involved in illegal mining and is also facing a case pertaining to an attack on a police party when it had gone to check illegal mining in the Beas river. However, later he was granted bail by the High Court, the newspaper reported.

Suryabanshi has been fighting  against the mining mafia for over a decade now. He and other locals have written 10,000 letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur highlighting mining activities in the Beas, which are resulting in a loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer. He had also approached the High Court. However, no action was taken against the mining mafia. Even illegal roads constructed by the mafia were not dismantled.

Suryabanshi has made the protection of Rakkar’s environment the priority in his life. He resides in a temple on the river bed of Beas. He outlined how mining affects the environment and most of the mining goes on in wildlife sanctuaries and forest land.

“Mining starts barely 500 metres down and upstream of the Beas on the Jalandhar-Hamirpur national highway. It witnessed an exponential rise with a boom in real estate in Punjab. Despite various complaints by villagers pertaining to damage to their crops because of illegal mining, the mafia having strong links with politicians has each time overcome hurdles,” Suryabanshi told The Tribune.

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